What Is Abdominal Pain? Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis.— What is Abdominal pain and how does it occur?The discomfort in the abdomen is felt in the abdomen. The abdomen is an anatomical area that is bordered on each side by the lower margin of the ribs and diaphragm above, the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below, and the lower margins of the ribs below.
In spite of the fact that pain can emerge from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity (such as skin and muscles), abdominal pain is most commonly used to indicate discomfort originating in the organs that are located within the abdominal cavity. The stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas are among the organs that make up the abdominal cavity.
Technically speaking, the pelvis is the lowermost component of the previously stated area. It contains the urine bladder and rectum, as well as the prostate gland in men, and the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries in women, among other organs. It can be difficult to determine if lower abdominal pain originates in the lower abdomen or in the pelvis at times (pelvic pain).
Discomfort may be felt in the abdomen on occasion, even when the source of the pain is an organ that is adjacent to, but not within, the abdominal cavity, such as disorders affecting the lower lungs, kidneys, uterus, or ovaries, for example. While this may be the case, it is also conceivable for discomfort from organs within the abdomen to be felt outside of the belly cavity. The discomfort associated with pancreatic inflammation, for example, may be felt in the back.
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These latter types of pain called referred pain since they do not originate in the area where the pain is being experienced. Rather, the source of the problem is located far away from the source of the problem (i.e., it is referred to a different area).
Types of abdominal pain
Not all abdominal discomfort is the same. For example, if you’re having severe abdominal pain, you’ve most certainly only been coping with the discomfort for about a week, maybe less.
Chronic abdominal discomfort: on the other hand, is pain that’s chronic or recurring. It lasts for a duration of 3 months or longer.
Since there are a lot of gastrointestinal and systemic problems that lead to abdominal discomfort, doctors and healthcare professionals sometimes have a hard time diagnosing the main cause of the pain.
Progressive abdominal discomfort: is pain that becomes worse with time. Typically more symptoms arise as the stomach pain increases. Progressive abdominal pain is typically a sign of something more serious. Read on to learn more about the many types of abdominal pain, including where and what the pain occurs and potential reasons.
What is the source of abdominal pain?
It is possible to have abdominal pain due to inflammation of an organ (for example, appendicitis, diverticulitis, or colitis), by elongating or distention of an organ (for example, obstruction of the intestine by gallstones, swelling of the liver with hepatitis), or by loss of blood supply to an organ (for example, appendicitis, diverticulitis, or colitis) (for example, ischemic colitis).
The fact that stomach pain can occur without any signs of inflammation, distention, or lack of blood flow further complicates matters. This is exemplified most prominently by the condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, it is not known what causes the abdominal pain associated with IBS; however, it is thought to be caused by either abnormal compressions of the intestinal muscles (for example, spasm) or unusually sensitive nerves within the intestines that cause painful sensations to be produced in an inappropriate manner (visceral hyper-sensitivity). The term “functional pain” is used to describe this type of pain because no identifiable particular abnormality has been discovered to account for the source of the discomfort – at least not yet.
Abdominal Pain Symptoms and Signs to Look Out For
Abdominal pain can manifest itself in a variety of ways. The following are some other ways to define abdominal discomfort, in addition to the severity of the pain:
Pain Throughout the Body: When you experience pain in more than half of your abdominal area, it is likely that you are suffering with stomach infections, indigestion, or gas as the source of your discomfort.
Pain that is restricted to a specific area: This refers to abdominal pain that is limited to a single location of your abdomen, and it is typically associated with a condition with an organ such as your stomach, appendix, or gallbladder as the source of your discomfort.
Cramping: This type of discomfort comes and goes, or it fluctuates in severity or perceived location in your belly depending on the person experiencing it. It is unusual that cramping is serious, and it is typically associated with gas, passing a stool, or menstruation as the source of your discomfort.
Colicky Pain: Similar to cramping, this type of pain comes and goes, but it is more severe and tends to come on and off more abruptly. According to Mount Sinai, the discomfort you’re experiencing is characteristic of kidney stones or gallstones being the source of it. arrow pointing up to the right
If your stomach discomfort is severe enough that you are unable to move without experiencing greater agony, or if you are unable to sit still in a comfortable posture, it is critical that you contact your doctor.
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If your stomach pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible:
- Blood in the feces
- Continual nausea and vomiting that does not subside
- Loss of weight
- Skin that is yellowish in color
- The abdomen is quite sensitive to the touch.
- The abdomen is swollen.
What causes stomach discomfort?
Numerous illnesses can result in abdominal pain. However, the primary causes are as follows:
- aberrant growths caused by infection
- obstruction because to inflammation (blockage)
- intestinal problems inflammatory diseases affecting the abdominal organs
- Bacteria can enter your digestive tract through infections in the throat, intestines, or blood, resulting in stomach pain. Additionally, these illnesses might result in alterations in digestion, such as diarrhea or constipation.
- Menstrual cramps may sometimes produce lower abdomen pain, however they are more usually connected with pelvic pain.
Additional causes of abdominal pain include the following:
- intestinal gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
- reflux of acid (when stomach contents
- leak backward into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms)
Chronic abdominal pain can also be caused by digestive system diseases. The most frequently encountered are:
- acid reflux disease of the gastroesophageal sphincter (GERD)
- irritable bowel syndrome or colon spasms (a disorder that causes abdominal pain, cramping, and changes in bowel movements)
- IBD (inflammatory bowel illness) (an inflammatory bowel disease)
- Intolerance to lactose (the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products)
Severe abdominal discomfort can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:
- rupture or near-rupture of an organ (like a burst appendix, or appendicitis)
- stones in the gallbladder (known as gallstones)
- stones in the kidneys
- infection of the kidneys
The location of the pain in the abdomen may provide insight into its origin.
Pain that is diffused across the abdomen (rather than concentrated in one location) may indicate one of the following:
- abdominal appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix)
- IBD (inflammatory bowel illness)
- IBS is an acronym for irritable bowel syndrome.
- infection of the urinary tract
Lower abdominal pain may signify one of the following:
- intestinal blockage
- pregnancy that is ectopic (a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb)
Pain in the reproductive system of the lower abdomen can be caused by the following:
- menstruation pain that is terrible (called dysmenorrhea)
- cysts of the ovary
endometriosis is an inflammatory disease of the pelvis.
pregnancy that is ectopic
Upper abdominal pain may be caused by one of the following:
- heart attack
- the hepatitis (liver inflammation)
The pain in the center of the abdomen could be caused by one of the following:
gastroenteritis appendicitis uremia (buildup of waste products in your blood)
Lower left abdomen pain may be caused by one of the following:
- IBD (inflammatory bowel illness)
- infection of the kidneys
- appendicitis ovarian cysts
Upper left abdomen pain is occasionally caused by the following:
- enlarged spleen fecal impaction (unable to evacuate feces)
- infection of the kidneys
- coronary artery cancer
Lower right abdomen pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:
- appendicitis\hernia (occurs when an organ protrudes through a muscle weakness in the abdominal muscles)
- cancerous infection of the kidneys
Upper right abdomen pain may be caused by one of the following:
How is the etiology of stomach pain determined?
Abdominal discomfort is one of the most often encountered symptoms by general practitioners (doctors who work in general practice).
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Your symptoms and the location of your abdominal pain can aid a physician in diagnosing the source of your pain. They’ll want to know how long you’ve been experiencing pain and may do a physical examination. If you are a female, a pelvic examination may be included. If you are a guy, this may entail a penis and scrotum examination.
They may recommend that you undergo blood tests or other diagnostic treatments, particularly if you have been experiencing symptoms for an extended period of time.
The following tests and procedures may aid in determining the source of abdominal pain:
- tests of the blood, e.g. liver function testing
- urine examination
- Ultrasound-guided x-ray endoscopy or colonoscopy – a procedure during which a long flexible tube is inserted into your stomach or back canal (anus) while you are sedated.
- MRI examination
Additional procedures that may be recommended, depending on your gender, include the following:
- test for pregnancy and/or pelvic ultrasound (for women)
- Ultrasound examination of the scrotum (for men)
What is the treatment for Abdominal pain?
Abdominal discomfort is treated differently depending on the underlying reason.
Mild stomach pain usually subsides within hours or days. Mild pain and associated symptoms can frequently be addressed with drugstore medications. Your pharmacist can advise you on the type of product that is most appropriate for your situation.
Aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen should not be used to treat abdominal pain other than period pain. These medications may aggravate or exacerbate stomach or intestinal problems.
If you are managing modest stomach pain at home due to a recognized cause:
- Maintain hydration by drinking plenty of clear fluids; abstain from alcohol, tea, and coffee.
- Maintain a rested state by applying a hot water bottle or a warm wheat pack to your abdomen.
- When you are able to eat again, or as directed by your doctor, consume bland meals. Specific therapies, depending on the reason of your stomach pain, include the following:
Gas – Over-the-counter medications that break down gas bubbles, such as antacids containing simethicone, are available. Gas-reducing medications, such as charcoal products, may aid in the treatment of persistent wind problems. Changes in diet may also be beneficial. Dietary advice can be obtained from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) or your physician.
Gastroenteritis – This often lasts a few days and resolves on its own. The most critical treatment is rehydration with plenty of clear water.
Pain caused by muscular spasms – Antispasmodic medications may be used to alleviate spasms in the gut wall. Numerous options are available; see your pharmacist or physician to determine which is best for you.
Pain associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) — This may be addressed through lifestyle changes and/or the use of particular medications that help reduce stomach acid.
Pain caused by stomach or duodenal ulcers – Typically, this type of pain is handled by attempting to repair the ulcers, which alleviates the symptoms. This may include prescriptions for acid-reducing medications and antibiotics.
Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) — These disorders can be treated with a variety of medications, which can also be used to prevent future flare-ups.
There are numerous other possible reasons of stomach discomfort, and your doctor can advise you on the most effective treatment once the cause is determined. In some circumstances, such as appendicitis or obstruction of the colon, the individual may require immediate surgery.
The following medications may be prescribed to relieve stomach pain:
- anti-nausea drugs
- anti-flatulent drugs